Seated Liberty Half Dollars
(Arrows & Rays)
Seated Liberty Half Dollars with arrows and rays represent the second variety in this series. This particular coin, with its modifications, was only minted in 1853.
For more than fifty years, the precious metal content of silver and gold coins made at the US Mint had been based on a relative value of 16:1 silver to gold respectively. Then, with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in the early 1850's, that ratio came unraveled and eventually resulted in the debasing of US coins. The great influx of gold that was
being found had the effect of lowering its price while increasing the value of silver. Hence, most all silver coins were melted for the metal content they had in them. This domino effect caused commerce to suffer due to the lack of coins in circulation. The solution was to decrease the silver content in circulating coins to discourage melting them.
The obverse of this coin is the same basic design as the previous issue, with the exception of arrows being added to both sides of the date to indicate a slight decrease in silver content.
The reverse of the coin shows a naturalistic eagle with a Union shield superimposed upon its breast. The Mint also added rays around the eagle to make these coins easy to distinguish as being of lighter weight.
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Weight: 12.44 grams
Comp: 90.0% Silver, 10.0% Copper
Seated Liberty Half Dollar (Arrows & Rays) to Half Dollars
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